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In Vitro Gametogenesis (IVG): Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) in Development

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In vitro gametogenesis (IVG) research has been growing in countries like Japan, US, and China after the development of stem cell research and other scientific advancements as well as because of the perception of infertility as a domestic and international

In vitro gametogenesis (IVG) research has been growing in countries like Japan, US, and China after the development of stem cell research and other scientific advancements as well as because of the perception of infertility as a domestic and international problem. IVG research’s progress has been deliberated internationally, with discussion of questions, challenges, and possibilities that have arisen and may arise in the future as the technology is adopted by different countries. The first section introduces the meaning of IVG, explains the importance of review by scientists and citizens for IVG, and describes a rise in infertility reported in multiple developed countries that could be addressed by IVG. The second section discusses IVG’s applications and implications using 5 ethical categories articulated by Obama’s Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues: Public Beneficence, Responsible Stewardship, Intellectual Freedom and Responsibility, Democratic Deliberation, and Justice and Fairness. These five ethical principles were intended for analysis of emerging technologies, and IVG is an emerging technology with possible integration into clinical settings. Among the principles, it seemed that a major weak point of inquiry concerns LGBT+ and disability inclusion, especially of gender dysphoric and transgender people who may experience higher rates of infertility and have a harder time conceiving due to a mix of discrimination, gender dysphoria, and infertility due to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) treatment or gender/sex reassignment surgeries (GRSs/SRSs) that may impair or remove reproductive body parts. A number of other ethical considerations arise about this technology.

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2019-05

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Joseph Rotblat, the Physicist Who Left the Manhattan Project: a Biography of Scientific Responsibility

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Joseph Rotblat (1908-2005) was the only physicist to leave the Manhattan Project for moral reasons before its completion. He would spend the rest of his life advocating for nuclear disarmament. His activities for disarmament resulted in the formation, in 1957,

Joseph Rotblat (1908-2005) was the only physicist to leave the Manhattan Project for moral reasons before its completion. He would spend the rest of his life advocating for nuclear disarmament. His activities for disarmament resulted in the formation, in 1957, of the Pugwash conferences, which emerged as the leading global forum to advance limits on nuclear weapons during the Cold War. Rotblat's efforts, and the activities of Pugwash, resulted in both being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. Rotblat is a central figure in the global history of resistance to the spread of nuclear weapons. He also was an important figure in the emergence, after World War II, of a counter-movement to introduce new social justifications for scientific research and new models for ethics and professionalism among scientists. Rotblat embodies the power of the individual scientist to say "no" and thus, at least individually, put limits of conscience on his or her scientific activity. This paper explores the political and ethical choices scientists make as part of their effort to behave responsibly and to influence the outcomes of their work. By analyzing three phases of Rotblat's life, I demonstrate how he pursued his ideal of beneficial science, or science that appears to benefit humanity. The three phases are: (1) his decision to leave the Manhattan Project in 1944, (2) his role in the creation of Pugwash in 1957 and his role in the rise of the organization into international prominence and (3) his winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. These three phases of Rotblat's life provide a singular window of the history of nuclear weapons and the international movement for scientific responsibility in the 50 years since the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. While this paper does not provide a complete picture of Rotblat's life and times, I argue that his experiences shed important light on the difficult question of the individual responsibility of scientists.

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2015-05

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Ethics of Life Extension Technology

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The prospect of anti-aging or life extension technology is controversial in biogerentology but deemed even by skeptical experts to warrant discussion. I discuss the justifications that the probability of life extension technology being developed in the near future is reasonably

The prospect of anti-aging or life extension technology is controversial in biogerentology but deemed even by skeptical experts to warrant discussion. I discuss the justifications that the probability of life extension technology being developed in the near future is reasonably high and that this research justifies the time and money it receives. I investigate potential ethical and societal issues anti-aging technology might create. This paper addresses inequality of access, economic cost, changes in quality of life, the role of death in human life, if and how the technology should be regulated and how parties who choose not to undergo treatment can be fairly treated, even when they are a minority.

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2015-05

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The Ethics of Keeping Large Felids in Zoos

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This thesis aims to address the ethics of keeping the big cats, such as lions, tigers, and leopards, in zoos. It is a practice that has generated some controversy in light of scientific studies reporting stress among wide-ranging animals in

This thesis aims to address the ethics of keeping the big cats, such as lions, tigers, and leopards, in zoos. It is a practice that has generated some controversy in light of scientific studies reporting stress among wide-ranging animals in captive enclosures, as well as in the context of wider discussions in animal welfare and conservation ethics in zoos. A driving question for this project, therefore, was "What are the arguments for and against keeping large felids in zoos/captivity?" This thesis examines the historical and current ethical approaches to evaluating the ethics of maintaining big cats in zoos. Due to many of the big cat species listed as endangered species on the IUCN redlist, the species-centered approach to zoo ethics is becoming the common viewpoint, and, as a result, zoos are deemed ethical because of their contribution to ex situ conservation practices. Further, the ethical arguments against zoos are minimized when the zoos provide suitable and appropriate enclosures for their large felids. Of course, not all zoos are created equal; the ethics of zoos need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but in general, it is ethical to maintain big cats in zoos.

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2014-05

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Global bioethics: a descriptive analysis of the function of bioethics in health and medicine on a global scale

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This thesis explores concept of "global bioethics" in both its development as well as its current state in an effort to understand exactly where it fits into the larger field of bioethics. Further, the analysis poses specific questions regarding what

This thesis explores concept of "global bioethics" in both its development as well as its current state in an effort to understand exactly where it fits into the larger field of bioethics. Further, the analysis poses specific questions regarding what it may contribute to this field and related fields, and the possibility and scope associated with the continued development of global bioethics as its own discipline. To achieve this, the piece addresses questions regarding current opinions on the subject, the authorities and their associated publications related to global bioethics, and what the aims of the subject should be given its current state. "Global Bioethics" is a term that, while seen frequently in bioethics literature, is difficult to define succinctly. While many opinions are provided on the concept, little consensus exists regarding its application and possible contributions and, in some cases, even its very possibility. Applying ethical principles of health and medicine globally is undoubtedly complicated by the cultural, social, and geographical considerations associated with understanding health and medicine in different populations, leading to a dichotomy between two schools of thought in relation to global bioethics. These two sides consist of those who think that universality of bioethics is possible whereas the opposing viewpoint holds that relativism is the key to applying ethics on a global scale. Despite the aforementioned dichotomy in addressing applications of global bioethics, this analysis shows that the goals of the subject should be more focused on contributing to ethical frameworks and valuable types of thinking related to the ethics health and medicine on a global scale. This is achieved through an exploration of bioethics in general, health as a function of society and culture, the history and development of global bioethics itself, and an exploration of pertinent global health topics. While primarily descriptive in nature, this analysis critiques some of the current discussions and purported goals surrounding global bioethics, recommending that the field focus on fostering valuable discussion and framing of issues rather than the pursuit of concrete judgments on moral issues in global health and medicine.

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2011

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Reproductive Cloning and the Perception of Individuality

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Reproductive cloning is the duplication of genetic material to reproduce a living organism. The sheep Dolly was the first adult mammal to be cloned and her birth unveiled a multitude of questions about the potential for cloning humans and how

Reproductive cloning is the duplication of genetic material to reproduce a living organism. The sheep Dolly was the first adult mammal to be cloned and her birth unveiled a multitude of questions about the potential for cloning humans and how that might threaten human individuality. Given those questions, my project delves into how reproductive cloning relates to the idea of individuality across three subgroups: humans, utility animals such as those used for research or agriculture, and pets.

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2013-05

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Assessing corporate bioethics: a qualitative exploration of how bioethics is enacted in biomedicine companies

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Corporations in biomedicine hold significant power and influence, in both political and personal spheres. The decisions these companies make about ethics are critically important, as they help determine what products are developed, how they are developed, how they are promoted,

Corporations in biomedicine hold significant power and influence, in both political and personal spheres. The decisions these companies make about ethics are critically important, as they help determine what products are developed, how they are developed, how they are promoted, and potentially even how they are regulated. In the last fifteen years, for-profit private companies have been assembling bioethics committees to help resolve dilemmas that require informed deliberation about ethical, legal, scientific, and economic considerations. Private sector bioethics committees represent an important innovation in the governance of emerging technologies, with corporations taking a lead role in deciding what is ethically appropriate or problematic. And yet, we know very little about these committees, including their structures, memberships, mandates, authority, and impact. Drawing on an extensive literature review and qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews with executives, scientists and board members, this dissertation provides an in-depth analysis of the Ethics and Public Policy Board at SmithKline Beecham, the Ethics Advisory Board at Advanced Cell Technology, and the Bioethics Committee at Eli Lilly and offers insights about how ideas of bioethics and governance are currently imagined and enacted within corporations. The SmithKline Beecham board was the first private sector bioethics committee; its mandate was to explore, in a comprehensive and balanced analysis, the ethics of macro trends in science and technology. The Advanced Cell Technology board was created to be like a watchdog for the company, to prevent them from making major errors. The Eli Lilly board is different than the others in that it is made up mostly of internal employees and does research ethics consultations within the company. These private sector bioethics committees evaluate and construct new boundaries between their private interests and the public values they claim to promote. Findings from this dissertation show that criticisms of private sector bioethics that focus narrowly on financial conflicts of interest and a lack of transparency obscure analysis of the ideas about governance (about expertise, credibility and authority) that emerge from these structures and hamper serious debate about the possible impacts of moving ethical deliberation from the public to the private sector.

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2012

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Substance-exposed newborns in Arizona: an analysis of medically, ethically, and legally appropriate federal and state responses

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Intake of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit substances such as marijuana and methamphetamine during pregnancy can have significant deleterious effects on a developing fetus and the resulting infant. The existence of substance-exposed newborns also has negative impacts on society as a

Intake of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit substances such as marijuana and methamphetamine during pregnancy can have significant deleterious effects on a developing fetus and the resulting infant. The existence of substance-exposed newborns also has negative impacts on society as a whole; these include financial burdens placed on taxpayers and the additional time and resources required by health care professionals, social workers, and law enforcement authorities to properly care for such infants. Existing literature show a strong correlation between prenatal care and improved birth outcomes, including abstinence from or reduction of prenatal substance abuse. The Health Start Program in the state of Arizona attempts to mitigate the incidence of substance-exposed newborns, among other goals, by employing community health workers who identify high-risk pregnant and postpartum women, inform these women about how to receive prenatal care services, educate them on appropriate prenatal and neonatal care, and provide program and referral services to both pregnant and postpartum women. Community health workers interact directly with women most at-risk for prenatal substance abuse and should be well-versed in the understanding of the complex issues related to substance-exposed newborns. In an attempt to discover, analyze, and compile those complex issues with which community health workers should be knowledgeable, this project explores existing federal regulations regarding substance-exposed newborns, compares Arizona’s regulations to Minnesota’s, Virginia’s, and Washington’s, and analyzes prevailing literature in the field about the various implications associated with screening and reporting substance-exposed newborns to law enforcement authorities. After an intensive literature review, this project concludes that the Health Start Program needs a comprehensive resource document which enumerates federal and select state policies, landmark cases involving substance-abusing pregnant women and the precedence set by each, and recommendations from medical and public health experts. The document should also provide clear guidelines by which each stakeholder should abide and why, and recommend potential best practices the state of Arizona could adopt into law based on other state policies which have proven to be effective.

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2015

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Promises, expectations, and obligations : an examination of American Indian health outcomes

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American Indian literature is replete with language that refers to broken or hollow promises the US government has made to American Indians, one of the most prominent being that the US government has not kept its promises regarding health services

American Indian literature is replete with language that refers to broken or hollow promises the US government has made to American Indians, one of the most prominent being that the US government has not kept its promises regarding health services for American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN). Some commenters refer to treaties between tribes and the US government as the origin of the promise for health services to AI/AN. Others point to the trust relationship between the sovereign nations of American Indian tribes and the US government, while still others assert that the Snyder Act of 1921 or the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) contained the promise for health care. While the US has provided some form of health care for AI/AN since the country was in its infancy, and continues to do so through the Indian Health Service, the promise of health services for AI/AN is not explicit.

Philosophers have articulated that a promise contains a moral obligation to fulfill it because of others’ expectations created by that promise. As the US government made its first promises in early treaties with AI/AN tribes and subsequently made promises in the years since, it is morally obligated to fulfill those promises, be they lying promises or not, because of resulting expectations. Yet, the US government has historically acted to restrict the rights of AI/AN—rights that include access to health services—through assimilation, separation, or termination policies. Further, the policies of the US government have kept the AI/AN populations socioeconomically impoverished, dependent on the US government for basic needs, and susceptible to health-compromising conditions.

Using case studies, this dissertation looks not only at the policies and events that directly affected health services and health status, but also at how those policies and events contributed to health outcomes and the expectations of AI/AN. Given the history of the US government in fulfilling (or not fulfilling) its promises, this dissertation examines the expectations of AI/AN for their own future health outcomes under the policy of self-governance.

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2016